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How to Stop Getting Spam Email

Marcy writes about family, home life, parenting, money-saving tips, and many other topics, as well as essays and occasional humor pieces.


My Inbox is Full of Spam Email! Help!

Is your inbox jammed with spam messages?

Chances are, this was at some point a self-inflicted wound.

Are you tired of losing important messages in the clutter of ads, spammy pass-alongs, newsletters you don't have time to read and other junk?

Don't fret - you can indeed get rid of spam email, and you can control it considerably in the future.

The first thing to do is to decide who you really want to hear from by email.

And the second thing to do is to prioritize other types of mail.

Here's how to get started:

Tips for Protecting Your Email Address

How to Stop Spam Email From Friends

Do you have friends who constantly send you jokes, 'cute' photos, chain messages promising that you'll have bad luck if you don't forward them and other things you don't particularly want?

When the Internet first hit, some people went overboard in forwarding messages every day. It seemed everything looked 'funny,' or 'cute' and it was hard to resist 'sharing' it.

In many cases, the flood has slowed down simply because it's no longer a novelty.

But in other cases, you may still be getting far-too-many messages from a few people.

Here's how to address this problem:

  • If it's someone you'd like to hear from, simply politely ask them to take you off those distribution lists. Let them know you love hearing from them, but you are swamped and you'd like their help in managing your inbox. Most people will be happy to comply.
  • If there are personal reasons you can't ask this favor, consider putting the sender on a special incoming flagged list in your inbox (most email systems offer this option) or give them a 'special' email address you have created just for spam. I have one email address for this purpose - it's used for people who are well-meaning, but abuse the system.

If there are people you don't want to hear from, there's power at your fingertips. BLOCK these people. Don't feel badly - you have the right to do this - it's your life. And you can always unblock them if things change in the future.

What Do YOU Think?

How to Organize Your Inbox to Eliminate Spam Email Messages

It might sound contradictory, but this is one case where, in the long run, more is less.

If you have only one email account, you're inviting spam messages right off the bat. The way to control your inbox is to divide your life into various sections and create separate email accounts for each 'department.'

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While this sounds confusing at first, it ultimately organizes your incoming messages and saves you huge amounts of time. It also protects your privacy, because the address you give to your friends and family (the ones you WANT to hear from) is not the same one you'll give to other 'departments' in your life.

Your departments might include the following categories:

  • Personal
  • Work (Regular Job)
  • Part-time or Consulting Work
  • Bills
  • Memberships
  • Hobbies or Volunteer Work
  • Junk Mail

If possible, create a new personal account for your close family and associates. It might take time to wean people over to a new address, but it's worth it.

While you're at it, if your personal email is associated with a paid Internet provider, you might be better served to get a 'generic' email address from a service such as Yahoo, Gmail or one of the other popular services.

This will keep you from being financially tied to this service provider. You will already have an account that's untethered, and you can use it with any Internet service.

Bonus Point!

Most smart phones and other electronic devices allow you to import multiple email accounts. You can label these with the above designations, and your incoming mail will be automatically sorted and placed into the right group. It will make your life easier. Trust me.

Quick Tips to Organize Your Email Inbox

Save hours in sorting emails. Super easy way to simplify your inbox!

Save hours in sorting emails. Super easy way to simplify your inbox!

How to Control | Presort Incoming Email


First, "Unsubscribe" to anything you don't really need to get in the future.

Almost all electronic mailing lists have an 'unsubscribe' button at the bottom of the message. These do work. Sometimes you have to be persistent, but regulations on your side, and agencies that control things like the Internet and communication don't take kindly to companies that sidestep their rules.

If possible, get on a 'do not contact' or 'do not sell my information' list with banks, credit card companies, stores where you have accounts and other memberships.

Forward All Messages at First:

If you've been able to create an entirely new email identity or address for personal messages, you will have an easy time with this part.

Notify all your friends and family of your NEW address. Then, forward incoming mail from your old address to your new one.

Meanwhile, and in addition to forwarding, put an 'automatic reply' on your old email address to remind people you have a new address. People will not realize you've also forwarded your messages, and you won't miss your emails, because you'll still get them.

You can begin spotting the strays (those who didn't pay attention to your new address) right away. Just send them a note and ask them to use your new address.

Change Email Addresses in Records:

This also takes a bit of time, but ultimately, it works.

Start making a list of all emails you get from businesses and memberships. Then go to your profile in those groups and change your email address to the new (compartmentalized) address you've created for clubs, volunteer work, your career, whatever.

These changes are entered into systems automatically, so you should not continue getting email to the wrong address.

If you have forwarded all messages from your old email address to your new inbox (you can even forward things to a 'junk' email box to start, if you want), you can spot the outliers and correct the emails used by these groups.

Emailed Electronic Bills Save Paper | the Environment

Sign up for online bill paying and get bills by email.

Sign up for online bill paying and get bills by email.

Go Paperless With Electronic Bills

Once you have organized your emails, you can use your new e-filing system to cut down on junk mail and paper mail, too.

Do you still get the daily newspaper? Many papers offer online subscriptions now, and you can use your "Bills" or "Junk" email address to get these versions each day. You'll save a few trees, and cut down on clutter in your house.

Go paperless with your credit cards, mortgage payment, other subscriptions, memberships, and anything else you currently get via snail mail.

Ask if electronic billing or membership is available, and sign up for it as soon as you can. If they're not yet there, they will be soon; almost every company is offering paperless services as we go forward, because consumers are demanding it, and the environment demands it, too.

Sign up for a service such as Catalog Choice to cut down on junk mail, too. This service gets you off of mailing lists and instructs firms not to sell your contact information.


Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on May 01, 2015:

So glad you liked the tips, Easylearningweb! These strategies changed my life! Well - at least that part of it that's controlled by the computer and email!

Amelia Griggs from U.S. on April 28, 2015:

Great tips and very informative hub!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on March 29, 2015:

LOL! Thanks, Ron! Hey - tell the widow that she can't trust her banker - he keeps writing me and asking for help in transferring money out of a dormant account, and offering me a big cut of it. I bet it's hers - y'think?

Ronald E Franklin from Mechanicsburg, PA on March 29, 2015:

Great points, Marcy, that I'm sure will prove helpful to a lot of people. I don't really mind the pass-alongs from friends, but I do get a little tired of that widow who's willing to put millions from her late husband's estate into my hands if I'll just help her get it out of her country.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on February 08, 2015:

Hi, Dear Friend! I hope all is well with you - you're in my prayers and thoughts.

Yes - absolutely consider creating new accounts just for memberships and junk - it made my email life so much easier. It's like a filing system - all emails go where they belong & you know ahead of time whether you need to give them immediate attention or not. Such a relief!

Thanks for dropping by! Hugs to you!

Cindy Murdoch from Texas on February 08, 2015:

This is a great hub. It has gotten me to thinking about what I need to do to make some changes in my email accounts. Thanks so much.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on February 08, 2015:

Hi, Peachpurple - thanks for reading and commenting! Yes - I think you'll be amazed at the instant relief from much of the spam, not only from settings, but from creating specific accounts for things you don't want overloading your personal account. Best of luck in streamlining your inbox!

peachy from Home Sweet Home on February 07, 2015:

thanks for the tips, i should do the setting in my emails

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on January 24, 2015:

Thanks for reading and commenting, PairADice - as you say, people should never (ever!) give their real or main email address on websites. My life got so much simpler when I created an account for subscriptions and online orders - and it made it way easier to spot spam.

GSP on January 24, 2015:

Thank you Marcy for this awesome information about stopping spam mails! Spam Emails are very annoying.. Be careful before subscribing to any newsletter or any kind of offer. Don't use your personal or important email id, instead use a "not so important" email id, because once you subscribe, your email address will get distributed throughout the web. So, be careful before subscribing to any offer!

poetryman6969 on November 14, 2014:

I have different email personas for different tasks and that largely does it for me. The contest entering email address gets a lot of stuff for opting into contest.

I haven't seen viagra spam for a long time. I think the email providers are getting better and my filtering is probably working better too.

I do have a little problem with false positives now and then.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on March 15, 2014:

Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Vespa - and your grandmother sounds like a few of my relatives. I finally had to beg them to stop sending so much spam; it would jam my inbox and keep me from getting messages I needed to see. The additional email accounts really do help!

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on March 14, 2014:

There are a lot of great suggestions here for controlling email spam. I have a separate account I use for purchases, etc. but I am still careful to unsubscribe to any emails that don't interest me. My grandmother was my worst spammer at one point because I didn't have the heart to ask her to stop forwarding so many emails. Besides, I thought it was adorable to see her enjoying email so much. But now the novelty has even worn off for her. So the situation is good for me now. Thank you for sharing.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on December 29, 2013:

Thanks, Mr. Hollywood - I decided the most valuable tip here is to get a junk email account. This morning I got 20 duplicate emails from the same company. Obviously, that was a glitch. But at least they didn't hit my main inbox!

John Hollywood from Hollywood, CA on December 28, 2013:

Very helpful hub and practical too!

- Mister Hollywood

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on December 19, 2013:

Hi, CraftytotheCore! You definitely need some back-up email addresses. That's been the best thing I've done to control the flow of junk. If something comes in on my Junk account, I automatically know it's not urgent. I can also screen the patterns of traffic there & get rid of the spammers. I hate it when you give your email to a retailer or online firm & suddenly you're getting emails every single day. That's when I unsubscribe. Before I had accounts separated, I simply didn't have time to sift through my entire inbox looking for the spammers.

Life is better now! Glad you liked the hub - thanks for reading & commenting, and I hope the info helps you have a spam-free New Year!

CraftytotheCore on December 18, 2013:

I can certainly relate to this Hub. I get tons of junk mail in my email inbox. Some days there are several pages of ads and junk. Thanks for the great tips!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on June 13, 2013:

Hi, FullOfLoveSites! So glad to meet you here! Thanks for letting me know the hub was helpful for you. My life changed when I created special accounts for spammy stuff - it has made things so much easier in dealing with emails.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on June 12, 2013:

So glad you like the ideas here, Faythef! Let us know how it works?

FullOfLoveSites from United States on June 12, 2013:

Thanks! I have no idea how to remove spam mails except deleting them one by one which has become a tedious thing to do. Up and useful. :)

Faythe Payne from USA on June 12, 2013:

Very good tips, that I will follow.....voted up and sharing

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on April 06, 2013:

Thanks for your comment here, Jezebellamina! I get some duplicates, too, and it's very irritating, as you mentioned. One thing I realized after organizing things this way is that I can more easily spot the junk I really don't need. I cleaned out my 'junk' mailbox (hope none of the senders know about that label) and after repeatedly nuking the same few businesses, I realized I could unsubscribe with a clean conscience. Button pushed. Such a sense of liberation.

Jessica from Dallas, TX on April 06, 2013:

Great info! I have tons of email addresses, compartmentalized like you suggested. For the most part, it works! But I get SERIOUSLY irritated when I see the same exact spam email come to 2 of those addresses at the same exact time. I can only assume that one of my contacts that happens to have both those addresses had their email account hacked and compromised both of my mine that are on their contacts list! GRRRR!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on March 26, 2013:

Thanks so much for reading and commenting, KoffeeKlatch - just today, I was looking at my 'junk' inbox and thanking my stars that all those spams weren't hitting my regular email account. So glad you like the hub!

Susan Hazelton from Northern New York on March 26, 2013:

I have a ton of spam mail. Thanks so much for sharing this information. I will be starting all of this tonight. Up, and useful.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on March 09, 2013:

Hi, DDE - I hope these tricks help you get rid of the 'junk' email we all get so often! Many thanks for commenting!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 09, 2013:

Thanks for informative and helpful hub on How to Get Rid of Spam Email

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on March 08, 2013:

Hi, Robie - thanks for commenting here. I do periodic 'housecleanings,' too - and since I created a 'junk' email address, I solely use it when I am 'required' to give an email address. It annoys me that what used to be a private and convenient vehicle for communicating has now become a way to create electronic litter.

Robie Benve from Ohio on March 08, 2013:

Marcy, you are right about being a self inflicted wound. Most of the emails are consequence of me signing up for things or participating in surveys and sweeptakes.

I go through different phases with my junk emails. Sometimes I just hit delete, other times I actually open it to see what's all about (and then hit delete), and few times a year I do a thorough "unsubscribe" procedure.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on March 08, 2013:

Glad you like the tips here, Bizna. I'd say bored is a mild feeling for some of the spammers I've known!

JUDITH OKECH from NAIROBI - KENYA on March 08, 2013:

Thanks for this useful information. I really get bored of spam.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on March 07, 2013:

Hi, ViewFinders - glad you enjoyed the hub! Many thanks!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on March 07, 2013:

Hi, Sheri Faye! Oh. I've gotten nailed by those spammy invites, too. The other annoying trick is when a social site wants to download all your contacts - it's like a giant spider web. I want to scream, 'Noooo! Don't!'

Thanks for reading - and good luck in getting rid of those spam messages!

viewfinders from India on March 07, 2013:

very useful hub,thanks for sharing

Sheri Dusseault from Chemainus. BC, Canada on March 07, 2013:

Great hub. Just today I started getting tons of spam. I think I must have accepted a Twitter invite that I shouldn't have. Yuck! Thanks for this.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on March 07, 2013:

Hi, Sis! The biggest help to me was when I created special email accounts - my life got so much easier! Thanks for reading and commenting!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on March 07, 2013:

Yay! Another pile of spam messages bites the dust! Glad this was a reminder, Janewrites!

Angela Blair from Central Texas on March 07, 2013:

Good one -- ad fortunately I've done most of this but will certainly employ the others a.s.a.p. Best/Sis

Janet Giessl from Georgia country on March 07, 2013:

I get a lot of spam mails but I always forget to get rid of them. So your hub reminds me of taking action and stopping them now. Thank you.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on March 06, 2013:

Lol! Thanks, Billy! Hey - I don't wanna hear about the dinosaur part of it! Not true! No way.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 06, 2013:

Very useful hub, Marcy! I'm going to use this when I find the time. Thanks for the tutorial. This old dinosaur needs all the help he can get.

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